More kids being alternatively schooled

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Thora
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Feb 24 2008 16:13
madashell wrote:
Thora wrote:
Any education outside a school isn't really education?

Not a decent one, anyway.

Really good education requires structure, organisation, teachers who are experts in their field.

That sounds like an opinion you're presenting as fact tbh. Do you have any evidence that school education is better than education outside of school?

arf
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Feb 24 2008 16:13

Thats utter bollocks madashell. The best sort of education is the kind we do and get for ourselves. Thats why there's less and less teacher-help as people progress through the education system. People at uni are not spoon fed stuff to the same extent kids in school are, and that style of education (where people are encouraged to use their own initiative and direct their own study) is supposed to be of higher standard.

Also, most teachers are not experts in any field. Not even in the field of teaching.

I think you have a really false sense of the superiority of schooling over other forms of education and learning.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 16:24
arf wrote:
Thats utter bollocks madashell. The best sort of education is the kind we do and get for ourselves. Thats why there's less and less teacher-help as people progress through the education system. People at uni are not spoon fed stuff to the same extent kids in school are, and that style of education (where people are encouraged to use their own initiative and direct their own study) is supposed to be of higher standard.

All of that is true, up to a point, but it doesn't really adress what I've said and doesn't really have much relevance to the education of children. Yes, spoon feeding is avoided at higher levels of education, yes, it's important for people to learn to use their own initiative, but that doesn't change the fact that organised education can help people do these things. Why do you think the ultra rich go to Oxford or Cambridge rather than doing it on the Open Uni?

It's unreasonable to expect a child to be able to direct their own study properly without help from qualified adults. What happens to kids with profound learning difficulties in your unschooled utopia?

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Also, most teachers are not experts in any field. Not even in the field of teaching.

Unforutnately, that is the case, schools under capitalism are crap. Go figure.

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Anna
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Feb 24 2008 16:25

'Learning by doing' is all well and good, but only really applicable to little kids. When I was at primary school, most of my teachers were of the generation that had been taught by such 'holistic education' methods in the 1970s, and the lack of structure had meant that they had never really got to grips with the basics. I can remember correcting my teachers' spelling and maths by the time I was about 9 or 10.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 16:33
Thora wrote:
That sounds like an opinion you're presenting as fact tbh. Do you have any evidence that school education is better than education outside of school?

Again, why do you think that the rich and powerful have, historically, tended to provide their children with a structured, organised education? Why do you think working class people the world over have struggled for higher standards of education for so long?

Because The Man likes to get down The Kids, I suppose.

arf
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Feb 24 2008 17:16
madashell wrote:
arf wrote:
Thats utter bollocks madashell. The best sort of education is the kind we do and get for ourselves. Thats why there's less and less teacher-help as people progress through the education system. People at uni are not spoon fed stuff to the same extent kids in school are, and that style of education (where people are encouraged to use their own initiative and direct their own study) is supposed to be of higher standard.

All of that is true, up to a point, but it doesn't really adress what I've said and doesn't really have much relevance to the education of children.

Why do you think children require a different style of learning to adults? All the evidence ive ever seen suggests that kids pick stuff up way faster than adults. Look at the way children pick up new languages for example. Young brains find it much easier to adapt to and store new information than adults, they also have far more energy and if theyre interested in something, are more motivated. They are creative, too, they make up new games and stories easily. And really, its surprising the concepts they pick up and can understand entirely on their own, just from listening and paying attention to the world around them So why are you convinced they need the blue peter treatment?

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Yes, spoon feeding is avoided at higher levels of education, yes, it's important for people to learn to use their own initiative, but that doesn't change the fact that organised education can help people do these things.

It can help *some* people. It hinders many others.

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Why do you think the ultra rich go to Oxford or Cambridge rather than doing it on the Open Uni?

That has got to be one of the stupidest questions ive ever seen on this board. Seriously. And again with the superiority problem.

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It's unreasonable to expect a child to be able to direct their own study properly without help from qualified adults. What happens to kids with profound learning difficulties in your unschooled utopia?

What happens to kids with profound learning difficulties in your schools? They get on well do they? Unsurprisingly, home edding is quite popular with families where kids have learning difficulties, i've noticed a large number of aspergers kids are home edded.

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Also, most teachers are not experts in any field. Not even in the field of teaching.
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Unforutnately, that is the case, schools under capitalism are crap. Go figure.

And schools under your favoured system would be better how? How would they be any different?

arf
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Feb 24 2008 17:20
madashell wrote:
Thora wrote:
That sounds like an opinion you're presenting as fact tbh. Do you have any evidence that school education is better than education outside of school?

Again, why do you think that the rich and powerful have, historically, tended to provide their children with a structured, organised education? Why do you think working class people the world over have struggled for higher standards of education for so long?

Because The Man likes to get down The Kids, I suppose.

Please, please let me hear your own answers to these questions.

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Choccy
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Feb 24 2008 17:38

I'm reading all these pieces of anecdotal evidence and they're all lovely, really they are. But I'm wondering if a few smart and obviously very conscientious class-struggle anarchists are representative of the numbers that are moving into home-schooling? I'm guessing not so - and that's not a guess I pulled out of my arse - you can look at the trends in home schooling/alternative and independent schooling and unfortunately it doesn't appear to be all really conscientious people who've given it a lot of thought but rather nutjobs.

Since we're all giving subjective anecdotes I'll reiterate the experience of the girl in my dept who just sent her kid to a local mainstream primary school after having considered home-schooling for her eldest son (I think he's P1 now) and tried some local community run parents education group. Her experience was that the local group was full of christian weirdoes, and not just weirdoes, but fundamentalist bigots. The problem with small community one's is that they're as easily subject to conservative forces as mainstream schools, and in her experience it was even harder to challenge their own orthodoxy than that of a mainstream school. A small group like that seemed very resistant to change in her opinion and hunting for another gorup of lefty trendy liberal parents was a dead end, given that they're probably all too busy working to pay bills.

I don't have kids, but I'd love to someday, and I sympathise with Redtwister - of course you have to do whatever you think is on the best interest of your kids, that's obviously totally understandable. My own training was in secondary teaching and I do regular research work in primary schools now so while I can't comment on the US, I can say there's a lot of shite that goes on in mainstream schools - I simply don't dropping out is the answer.

I'd still like someone to point out to me how homeschooling isn't analogous to drop-out politics, it just kinda seems that way to me.
I will say I do really appreciate the time Randy, Redtwister, Arf et al have taken to respond and I'm honestly not trying to be a prick here wink

As for "learning by doing", it is of course a great way of learning, but in order to facilitate a process like that, especially beyond primary school level, certainly requires some structure and instruction - indeed it's a balance that must be struck - it's not either/or.
The principles can be applied to learning anything, not just maths or biology. Ok so I train muaythai and BJJ, now, sparring (i.e. doing) is vital - any training you do is useless unless you train it in situations that replicate those conditions under which you put your training to use. However - you don't just walk into a class and spar - you don't just DO - that would be crazy, a fucking mess. Someone, an "expert" for want of a better word, show you some shit, some technique, cos they've been training a helluva lot longer, understand the basic principles, know what works and can communicate those ideas because they've gone through it a hundred times before - they INSTRUCT you. Then you practice a technique. So only once you been instructed, and then drilled/practiced something, can you then "learn by doing".
Same shit applies to football or whatever kinda skill/subject you're trying to learn. People don't run up and start toe-poking free kicks - someone shows them how to shape up to the ball, what part of the boot to strike with etc - there is nothing wrong with instruction - of course it needs to be examined critically and any sort of claims to authory placed under scrutiny, but fuck it, if David Beckham wanted to give me a few tips on how to kick a ball I'd not scream "STOP TELLING ME WHAT TO DO!" in his face wink

Instruction and learning by doing are both vital component of learning any skillset. You cannot dispense with either for they complement each other.

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Anna
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Feb 24 2008 17:43
arf wrote:
Why do you think children require a different style of learning to adults? All the evidence ive ever seen suggests that kids pick stuff up way faster than adults. Look at the way children pick up new languages for example. Young brains find it much easier to adapt to and store new information than adults, they also have far more energy and if theyre interested in something, are more motivated.

Young children find it easy to pick up languages because they have a specially evolved capacity specifically for language acquisition. They don't have anything like this for reading or writing or maths, so learning these skills will require giving them them a lot of help and structure. They will not just 'pick them up'. Pretty much every child learns to speak, but illiteracy remains widespread.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 17:45

I'm not sure how giving your children the best education you can is analogous to drop-out politics really.

So madashell, your basing your opinion that children learn better in a structured, organised environment on "rich people are doing it"?

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 17:49
Anna wrote:
arf wrote:
Why do you think children require a different style of learning to adults? All the evidence ive ever seen suggests that kids pick stuff up way faster than adults. Look at the way children pick up new languages for example. Young brains find it much easier to adapt to and store new information than adults, they also have far more energy and if theyre interested in something, are more motivated.

Young children find it easy to pick up languages because they have a specially evolved capacity specifically for language acquisition. They don't have anything like this for reading or writing or maths, so learning these skills will require giving them them a lot of help and structure. They will not just 'pick them up'. Pretty much every child learns to speak, but illiteracy remains widespread.

Unschooling doesn't mean just leaving kids to learn for themselves though - Arf is still helping her children, even unschooling require someone putting a lot of effort in. Her children are getting a lot more adult guidance and assistance than they would in a class of 30.

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Anna
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Feb 24 2008 17:52
Thora wrote:
Anna wrote:
arf wrote:
Why do you think children require a different style of learning to adults? All the evidence ive ever seen suggests that kids pick stuff up way faster than adults. Look at the way children pick up new languages for example. Young brains find it much easier to adapt to and store new information than adults, they also have far more energy and if theyre interested in something, are more motivated.

Young children find it easy to pick up languages because they have a specially evolved capacity specifically for language acquisition. They don't have anything like this for reading or writing or maths, so learning these skills will require giving them them a lot of help and structure. They will not just 'pick them up'. Pretty much every child learns to speak, but illiteracy remains widespread.

Unschooling doesn't mean just leaving kids to learn for themselves though - Arf is still helping her children, even unschooling require someone putting a lot of effort in. Her children are getting a lot more adult guidance and assistance than they would in a class of 30.

Exactly. It's not really 'unschooling' at all - more like 'hyperschooling'.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 17:53

One of the things I find odd about libcom, is that when it comes to caring for or educating children so many posters here object to anything that strays too far from the mainstream.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 17:54
arf wrote:
Why do you think children require a different style of learning to adults? All the evidence ive ever seen suggests that kids pick stuff up way faster than adults. Look at the way children pick up new languages for example. Young brains find it much easier to adapt to and store new information than adults, they also have far more energy and if theyre interested in something, are more motivated. They are creative, too, they make up new games and stories easily. And really, its surprising the concepts they pick up and can understand entirely on their own, just from listening and paying attention to the world around them So why are you convinced they need the blue peter treatment?

The what now treatment? confused

I think you're being a bit over optimistic about the capabilities of children. Yes they can be creative, clever and a whole host of other things, they can also be lazy, stroppy and unwilling to try new things. Kids need guidance sometimes, you can't just leave it up to them.

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That has got to be one of the stupidest questions ive ever seen on this board. Seriously. And again with the superiority problem.

By "stupid" do you mean you don't know how to answer it?

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What happens to kids with profound learning difficulties in your schools? They get on well do they? Unsurprisingly, home edding is quite popular with families where kids have learning difficulties, i've noticed a large number of aspergers kids are home edded.

Don't talk to me about how kids with learning difficulties fare in the current schooling system, I'm pretty sure I know more about that than you.

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And schools under your favoured system would be better how? How would they be any different?

Personally, I'd like to see learning tailored more individually, with teaching taking the different learning styles, interests and talents of individual kids into account, I'd like to see more time spent on helping kids who have difficulties with certain subjects to grasp the material, instead of just shunting them off into lower sets where they hardly learn anything. More focus on subjects like history, foreign languages, mathematics and literature would be good too.

arf
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Feb 24 2008 17:54

is "drop out politics" a negative reference to doing something other than trying to reform a thing?

because as far as school is concerned, yeh id rather my kids "dropped out" (if you can drop out of something you never went to; if school is the default such that doing anything else is defined negatively as "dropped out of school" rather than positively in its own right as another option). because i dont believe that schools can be different, reformed, enough that they would be good for children. because i think every good teacher that gives a shit is struggling to reform a system that doesnt want to be reformed, and they might be better spending their energy instead building alternatives. and even if schools were up for being reformed, it wouldnt be fast enough that my kids would benefit from it.

to be honest, im not much for reforming stuff that is shit at its centre anyway. and i think the concept of schooling at its very core is elitist, patronising, abusive, dehumanising, and a bunch of other nasty things. im really in awe of how devout school-believers are, how much they believe that it is the only or best way regardless of whether theyve ever even heard of any other way. school as we know it is so young, really, but believers talk about it like its a given, like life cannot be imagined without it, without school presumably society would crumble and kids would sit around picking their bogeys all day. which is so unlike what is happening at the moment, isnt it?

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 17:58
Thora wrote:
So madashell, your basing your opinion that children learn better in a structured, organised environment on "rich people are doing it"?

Yep that's exactly what I'm saying roll eyes

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 18:00
Anna wrote:
Exactly. It's not really 'unschooling' at all - more like 'hyperschooling'.

I don't know - hyperschooling sounds to me more like sitting a child down and cramming more and more facts into them. Like school but more so.

arf
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Feb 24 2008 18:02
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I think you're being a bit over optimistic about the capabilities of children. Yes they can be creative, clever and a whole host of other things, they can also be lazy, stroppy and unwilling to try new things.

unlike adults?

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Kids need guidance sometimes, you can't just leave it up to them.

When they need and ask for help or guidance i would advocate providing it to the best of our ability. Schooling, however, tends to force feed information that has not been asked for ,while at the same time refusing to provide help or guidance that has in fact been requested.

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By "stupid" do you mean you don't know how to answer it?

No, i meant what i said.

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Don't talk to me about how kids with learning difficulties fare in the current schooling system, I'm pretty sure I know more about that than you.

So how do they get on then? Youre the one saying that schools are superior for kids with learning difficulties. You tell me how superior they are.

arf
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Feb 24 2008 18:04

Anna - no offence but i dont think you understand what un schooling is if you think that it is either leaving kids entirely alone hoping they will just pick stuff up, or that its "hyper schooling". Its neither.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 18:05
madashell wrote:
I think you're being a bit over optimistic about the capabilities of children. Yes they can be creative, clever and a whole host of other things, they can also be lazy, stroppy and unwilling to try new things. Kids need guidance sometimes, you can't just leave it up to them.

Before children start school they're desperate to learn new things - every activity during the day they're picking up new skills, asking questions, wanting to know more, showing off their new knowledge. This doesn't suddenly stop when they turn 4, and they now need to be cajoled and coerced into learning.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 18:06
madashell wrote:
Thora wrote:
So madashell, your basing your opinion that children learn better in a structured, organised environment on "rich people are doing it"?

Yep that's exactly what I'm saying roll eyes

What are you saying then? That seemed to be your response to me asking why you believe children need a structured school environment to learn.

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madashell
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Feb 24 2008 18:26
arf wrote:
unlike adults?

Heh, fair point, but I think that adults generally tend to understand where their own interests lie better than kids, more life experience and all that.

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When they need and ask for help or guidance i would advocate providing it to the best of our ability.

And wouldn't it be better if there's somewhere kids can go to get that guidance, from people who know the subject very well and are used to explaining things to people? We could call it a Learnitorium or something wink

Quote:
Schooling, however, tends to force feed information that has not been asked for ,while at the same time refusing to provide help or guidance that has in fact been requested.

I don't think that this is necessarily inherent to schooling, it's more a matter of how schools are organised and people's attitudes towards learning.

Quote:
So how do they get on then? Youre the one saying that schools are superior for kids with learning difficulties. You tell me how superior they are.

As it stands they're crap, but still better than just leaving it to the parents who may not have a scooby what they're doing. If a kid really struggles with (for instance) reading and writing, I mean really has a lot of difficulty with it, and tends to avoid it as a result, what do you suggest we should do? Just ignore it and leave the kid to be functionally illiterate?

There's a certain knack to teaching new concepts to people who have a lot of trouble with them, it's not an easy job and I kind of resent the implication that any fucker could just come along and do it.

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Feb 24 2008 18:29
Thora wrote:
What are you saying then? That seemed to be your response to me asking why you believe children need a structured school environment to learn.

I'm saying that we can provide a better learning environment if we collectively pool our resources so that people who actually know what they're talking about are teaching kids instead of a parent who might not know what they're doing. Frankly the whole unschooling thing strikes me as breathtakingly individualistic. What happens to kids who's parents are shit at maths?

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 18:33
madashell wrote:
There's a certain knack to teaching new concepts to people who have a lot of trouble with them, it's not an easy job and I kind of resent the implication that any fucker could just come along and do it.

So your objection is more about homeschooling damaging the position of teachers? I think most people are capable of educating their own children, certainly at primary level. It's not a special skill.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 18:37
madashell wrote:
Thora wrote:
What are you saying then? That seemed to be your response to me asking why you believe children need a structured school environment to learn.

I'm saying that we can provide a better learning environment if we collectively pool our resources so that people who actually know what they're talking about are teaching kids instead of a parent who might not know what they're doing. Frankly the whole unschooling thing strikes me as breathtakingly individualistic. What happens to kids who's parents are shit at maths?

If a person who is really shit at maths and doesn't feel they would be able to teach it wanted to homeschool their children, they'd probably seek out someone who was better at maths to help them.

You seem to be seeing this in a very either/or way. I'm not against schools or group learning, but I think unschooling is just as valid. Not everyone is going to want to, or be able to home school their kids, so there will always be a need for schools - but to dismiss non-mainstream forms of education as worthless, as you seem to be doing, is mad.

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jef costello
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Feb 24 2008 19:06

Jesus fuck would ypu all shut up.
You're all using exaggerated examples to back your shit up.

~State education is shit and a large number of teachers are crap and the ones who aren't are constrained by standardised testing and stats chasing. This doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater. The NHS isn't as good as I expect my healthcare system, it doesn't mean I decide in an anarchist society we won't have a healthcare system.

Unschooling must require a tremendous amount of effort on the part of the parent if, like arf, they do it all themselves, if they do it in collectives etc then what is the difference between that and a good school? A space with chilkdren and adults and equipment where the adult helps the children to learn. You don't need to 'make' children learn, they do it automatically, but unless you foster it right then they won't learn or they might spend six months doing the same thing because they find it fun.

arf would you mind answering some of the questions I asked you earlier? I'd be quite interested to read your responses rather than more of this crap between you madas and thora.

My own view of education is that there are certain things that we all should know and that the education system should ensure that we do learn them. I believe in structured teaching (not necessarily in a classroom or any of the cliches of the current system) I think it's good to teach children using everyday activites but I would deliberately set up activities that wold help me to teachcertain things which might not come up otherwise. I'd also rather have a specialist teaching some things to my kids, it'd be easier for them and for me as well.

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jef costello
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Feb 24 2008 19:11
Thora wrote:
So your objection is more about homeschooling damaging the position of teachers? I think most people are capable of educating their own children, certainly at primary level. It's not a special skill.

Firstly I don't think that that's madas' point.
Secondly teaching is a skill. Most people I know could not do my job. But most of them could be taught to do it. A skill is something that is learned and something that can be taught.

Thora
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Feb 24 2008 19:18
jef costello wrote:
Jesus fuck would ypu all shut up.
You're all using exaggerated examples to back your shit up.

~State education is shit and a large number of teachers are crap and the ones who aren't are constrained by standardised testing and stats chasing. This doesn't mean we throw the baby out with the bathwater. The NHS isn't as good as I expect my healthcare system, it doesn't mean I decide in an anarchist society we won't have a healthcare system.

Did anyone suggest dumpng schools?

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Feb 24 2008 19:45
Thora wrote:
Did anyone suggest dumpng schools?

What precisely is arf advocating if not getting rid of schools?
I don't want to to get into an argument but that seems to be the aim of 'unschooling'

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Anna
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Feb 24 2008 19:59

Surely it's obvious that if a young kid has a dedicated parent who is able to devote their days to teaching them one on one, they will probably learn better than a kid sat in an underfunded school with one teacher trying to keep a reign on 30 misbehaving kids. But it should be equally obvious that most working class parents have to go to work in order just to feed and clothe their kid, and so this option isn't applicable to the majority of people, hence 'unschooling' cannot provide a solution to the problem of education, and instead the obvious target of struggle should be ensuring better schooling facilities, smaller class sizes, better pay for teachers and classroom helpers etc.
But if you have the time, resources and intellect to hothouse your kid, then there's nothing in particular wrong with doing it, at least while you're qualified to teach at the level they're at. It's just not a viable option for most families.